Other pressures are more universal in nature. Her books include Sexualities in Context: It's a reflection of progress, she says, that now every counselor is trained in LGBT issues, and the students "are coming in and seeing anybody in the office. In fact, the university was challenged on the policy early in the fall semester, when a transgender student awaiting surgery from male to female was granted access to a female bathroom while living in a male wing of a dorm. In general terms, they acknowledge, the university's administration and board of trustees have been supportive of the LGBT community in recent years, embracing progressive policies and providing funding to support the center and various student groups. Her writing has been published and reprinted in journals, books, and undergraduate course books. Policies in place over the decades have made the campus climate more welcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, but some say acceptance is still a goal unrealized. But she defends it, saying, "I'm a very big believer that we have to look at the campus as a whole. For someone who reports to the division of undergraduate student affairs, her focus on the faculty, staff, and graduate student body is somewhat unorthodox. If you ever date a transgender person, please be patient and understanding with them. If they did, they would improve the scene. Opponents of gay marriage have passed amendments to several state constitutions explicitly banning same-sex unions. On the side, she advised LGBT student groups and helped to start faculty and staff groups on several campuses. The task force comprises faculty and staff members representing a variety of campus divisions—from student affairs to residence life, student health, and athletics—and students. But press them on specifics, about such things as the campus climate and the ease of coming out of the closet at Duke, and you get mixed responses.
Long cautions against putting too much weight on the rankings, whatever they indicate. Being gay doesn't fit into their idea of what their life should look like. In the wake of visible and, at times, vitriolic controversy over the consecration of its first openly gay bishop, the Episcopal Church has been divided by the question of how to respond to LGBT parishioners and clergy. Early in the fall semester, for example, she says she and her staff noticed that the word "faggot" had been traced in the dust on a vent right outside the center. Brodie convened a task force to advise the administration on issues of importance to gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of the university community. Others share this sentiment. After ten months of research, it issued a report to Reese, recommending that the university protect transgender members of the university community from discrimination based on "gender identity or expression. But for those on the ground, those members of the LGBT community and straight allies who experience life at Duke every day, the reality of life on campus is more complex, more nuanced than that. She gladly meets with them and tells them her own story, then listens to their stories. When Petrow, the journalist, visited the LGBT center last spring, he and a group of students shared their coming-out stories with each other. He co-edited Sex for Life: The year that Petrow started at Duke was the first year that the American Psychological Association stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder. Pride Parade and Festival was up tenfold from last year. Even a row of protesters from a local church who line part of the parade route with signs warning, "Abortion is murder. More than 3, GSAs in schools across the country have registered with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, a national education organization that focuses on maintaining safe school environments. She says that she has spoken with several students who were out to their friends and family in high school, before coming to Duke, but have since gone back into the closet. Of course, not all LGBT students at Duke use the center or socialize with the various student groups. The sexual organs that we have plays a significant factor in how comfortable we are with other people and how comfortable we are with ourselves. Duke has several student groups dedicated to LGBT issues, at least enough that the landscape can seem confusing to an outsider. It can include transsexuals, both pre- and post-operative; transvestites; and others who exhibit gender-bending behaviors. Members of the task force "monitor the university climate and report back about their experiences," says Damon Seils, a senior research analyst at Duke's Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics and co-chair of the task force. These venues have been popular. But she defends it, saying, "I'm a very big believer that we have to look at the campus as a whole. His recent work considers influences on frequency of sexual activity and cessation of sexual activity among persons 57 to If there were more of an LGBT social scene on campus, then closeted students would have more of an incentive to come out. Or is it acceptable if that's the way they feel most comfortable and choose to be?
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